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New series celebrates the requiem; Sweeping masterpieces inspired by emotion.

REMEMBRANCE, celebration, fright and commemoration; the very first requiems composed in the Middle Ages evoked a myriad of images and emotions, and the requiem continues to have the same effect on listeners today.

In Requiem, a new three-part series on S4C, singers and composers from Wales and beyond will be discussing the origin, development and the future of the requiem, along with powerful and sensitive performances that will bring to life some of the world's greatest requiems.

Elin Manahan Thomas, Bryn Terfel, Bishop Rowan Williams and other familiar faces explain the history of the requiem.

"For me the word requiem falls somewhere between the idea of commemoration and the idea of celebration," says Elin Manahan Thomas, the soprano from Swansea who has travelled the world singing opera.

REQUIEMS4C, "And I also like that there's lot of thinking about the next life in the requiem, the afterlife - be it in hell or heaven - which brings in tomorrow, " Over the years the requiem's musical form has developed from being a plainsong in the Catholic Church to greater works created by composers in the 19th century and onwards. But although the form has been adopted and adapted by many composers, some elements are consistent, one being the words and their importance.

The great requiems of Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi, Faure and Britten are performed all round the world. But the impetus behind the symphonic, theatrical requiem came from the years of revolutionary turmoil in France, thanks to one man, Luigi Cherubini.

Following in his footsteps great composers were inspired by the requiem's drama and emotion, and adapted the musical form to create sweeping masterpieces which viewers can enjoy on S4C's Requiem, Orchestra and Chorus of Wales conducted by Edward Gardner, and by Tenebrae Choir conducted by Nigel Short, along with solo pieces by Elin Manahan Thomas herself.

Elin was struck by the importance of the requiem and its words when she performed Faure's Pie Jesu, one of the requiem's best loved works, in a service for the children of Dunblane.

"When I performed Pie Jesu in the service I felt completely different because the words meant so much, and all of a sudden you could see the point of the words and where Faure was coming from when he wrote them."

Joining Elin to muse and discuss the ever-popular mass for the dead will be bass-baritones Bryn Terfel and Neal Davies, Bishop Rowan Williams, organist and musician Huw Tregelles Williams, composer Gareth Glyn, Verdi expert at the Theatr La Scala in Italy Franco Pulcini, and conductors Edwards Gardner and the late Sir Colin Davis.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:May 3, 2014
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